The North Carolina State Ports Authority owns and operates the Port of Wilmington. The Port of Wilmington has ample facilities to handle and store containers, breakbulk, and bulk cargoes. The Port of Wilmington boasts a 12.8-meter navigation channel and state-of-the-art facilities and equipment that supports international trade and distribution of goods to the Southeastern United States' market. The Port of Wilmington also has easy access to regional and national highway and rail networks.
The Port of Wilmington's harbor has an ocean bar channel with a depth of 13.4 meters and width of 152.4 meters. The inside harbor channel is 12.8 meters deep and 152.4 meters wide. The anchorage/turning basin is 365.8 meters in diameter and 12.8 meters deep. The average tidal variation is 1.2 meters. Berths 1 and 2 have alongside depth of 11.6 meters, and Berths 3 through 9 have alongside depth of 12.8 meters.
In the 2007-2008 shipping season, the Port of Wilmington served 339 vessels carrying a total of 3.5 million tons of cargo, including 1.4 million tons of containerized cargo in 204.9 thousand TEUs, 1.4 million tons of bulk cargo, and 702 thousand tons of breakbulk cargo.
The top five imported commodities through the Port of Wilmington during the shipping season were chemicals (491.6 thousand tons), coal (441.3 thousand tons), forest products (245 thousand tons), general merchandise (221.5 thousand tons), and cement. The top five export commodities were wood pulp (332.4 thousand tons), forest products (307.2 thousand tons), general merchandise (112.1 thousand tons), scrap metal (111.6 thousand tons), and food (97.1 thousand tons).
Located on the Cape Fear River about 48 kilometers from the open sea, the Port of Wilmington offers nine berths with a total of over two thousand meters of wharfage. The berths have contiguous open apron areas up to 91 meters wide. The open storage facilities for dry bulk have capacity to move as much as 800 tons of cargo per hour, and the covered facilities for dry bulk cargoes have conveyor systems that can handle up to one thousand tons per hour.
The Port of Wilmington offers almost 305 thousand square meters of covered storage, over 40 hectares of paved open storage, and 10 hectares of semi-improved open storage. The Port of Wilmington has rail access to all berths, transit sheds, warehouses, and open storage areas and ample cargo-handling equipment for the biggest and heaviest loads.